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NIGERIA: 2 homeless boys change their lives

Bosco Boys Home Center in Abuja provides supportive services and education for homeless children


(MissionNewswire) The Bosco Boys Home Center in Abuja, Nigeria, offers many services for homeless boys who want to change their lives. Youth can resume their education, learn a trade and return to their families, if possible. When Salesian missionaries arrived in Nigeria in 1982, they soon realized that there were many youth living on the street. Youth, even today, travel from remote areas to bigger cities looking for something to eat or to do odd jobs. There are also those who are forced to steal to feed themselves.

Adeyi, a 14-year-old boy who lived in Ogbomosho, a town in southwestern Nigeria, lost his mother when he was very young and grew up with his uncle. He suffered all kinds of abuse as a child and ran away to escape. Adeyi ended up living on the street and working several jobs in Lagos, the country’s largest city. He said, “I used to sell water and cookies. I often went to help people sell drinking water, but street children are given very little money. I was mistreated, but when I met the Salesians everything changed.”

Asanam, age 15, ran away from home after being mistreated by his family. He explained, “On the street, I didn’t know where to sleep. I met some boys who had also run away from their families, and I was begging so I could have something to eat, but life on the street is very difficult and you always have to be careful. It is a hard life and only the strongest survive. I felt discouraged and lost until I came to the Bosco Boys Home Center, where I realized that life could be different.”

The Bosco Boys houses are designed to make youth who once had nothing feel comfortable and welcomed. The Salesians, together with a team of social workers and educators, provide them with proper nutrition, care, and psychological support. Youth can then access formal education or vocational training to help them reach small goals, learn about their abilities, and regain self-confidence.

Today, Adeyi has completed a vocational training course and re-established contact with family members. He has managed to enroll in school, and his life has changed completely. With vocational training courses, Asanam is slowly discovering his skills. He said, “I now know that I am worth more than the street led me to believe. Thanks to the help of Bosco Boys Home, I am learning many new things and I know what I want to do when I grow up. For me, home is the place where I can be happy without being mistreated.”

Salesians also work with abandoned children in two centers in Nigeria. One is in Lagos, opened in 2018, and the other is Ibadan, opened in 2009. They are changing the lives of hundreds of children who are trafficked, abused, orphaned, in conflict with the law, or are facing addiction. Through scholarships and grants, Salesians are able to ensure that youth have a stable foundation and gain an education.

According to UNICEF, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the ninth most populous country in the world. By United Nations estimates, Nigeria will be one of the countries responsible for most of the world’s total population increase by 2050. While Nigeria has the second strongest economy in Africa, it also has extreme rates of poverty with 100 million people living on less than $1 a day.

About 64 percent of households in Nigeria consider themselves to be poor while 32 percent of households say their economic situation had worsened over a period of one year, according to UNICEF. Poverty still remains one of the most critical challenges facing the country and population growth rates have meant a steady increase in the number of people living in conditions of poverty.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Nigeria – Adeyi and Asanam, two success stories of “Bosco Boys Home” program

Salesian Missions – Nigeria

UNICEF – Nigeria